Full Review - Photos - Sandals Ochi!
What we liked and did not like at Sandals, Ocho Rios
Full Review and Photos - Sandals Ochi - All Inclusive - Couples Only
My photos are FOR SALE!
This was our 2nd vacation to Sandals Ocho Rios. We first visited this resort in 2013, and at that time we knew we would love to do it again. It took awhile, but this vacation was worth the wait. We have been to many Sandals Resorts (as you know if you've been reading my reviews over the years.) Sandals Ochi exceeds in its attentiveness to detail, service, food and overall "welcome." We met so many returning guests this year and they told us they loved Sandals Ochi and and why they return year after year.
Sandals Ochi does not have the beauty that we experienced at some other Sandals resorts. It does not have an outstanding beach. And it does not have a Cafe de Paris! But...it makes up for all of this with superb service and attention to detail. And oh yes...The Rabbit Hole! See my photo gallery below. below.) Remember the Speakeasies during the prohibition? Neither do I, so I guess this is as close as we we'll ever get. You will need a password but it's all done in fun!
We were greeted by name from managers and employees. They are exceedingly detail-oriented, a perk for being a Diamond Level guest. Sandals Ochi knows how to do everything right. Upon arrival at our room, we were presented with a plate of fresh cookies plus a 1-lb. bag of Sandals Mountain Blend coffee.
We really enjoyed the white-gloved luncheon for Diamon Level members which was a wonderful way to meet long-stranding Sandals visitorw who enjoyed sharing their previous Sandals adventures. Thank you for hosting this very special event! Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
We booked the Cub Level (formerly concierge) which has been our comfort zone for serveral years. We had the pleasure of working with two concierges - Tenniel and Shawne. They were very helpful and we liked them a lot.
Thanks, Tenniel and Shawne!
Our room was on the top floor of the Riviera Beachfront Tower, overlooking the beach. This is the same category we booked in 2013, and we still thinbk it offers the best patio views in the resort. Although not very arege, not walled inb, so there was no chance that our privacy would be invaded by neighbors. Although we knew we had neighbors, (we said "hello" in the hall a few times) we never heard any noise on either side. Durig earlier research on this building, I read some complaints about noise. Maybe it was because we were on the top floor, and the noise did not filter that far. Bottom line...we were never bothered by any noise!
Room photo gallery These pbotos rotate about every 5 seconds. Click any photo to stop the rotation.
Bar Room Service:
We requested a bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Champagne - all of which were delivered to our room on an "as needed" basis. It was perfect! Thanks, Ochi! One request lasted us the entire time we were there, and even showed up in our morning coffee!
Returning Guest Night: Tuesdays. Because of our vacation schedule, we couold have attended two Returning Guedt dinners. Although we loved meeting other guests and chatting with some of the staff members we decided once was sufficient since the order of events, announcements, awards, etc. is pretty much the same, week ater week. This must be one of most boring events for everyone working at Sanadals, since they must attend, week after week! We were presented with a bottle of Appleton Special Rum, and we were on their list list of Diamond Level Members.
White Night - Chocolate Night: Wed. due to our date selection we were able to attend this event twice. Iy weas truly an amazing production, probably the best we've seen at any Sandals resort. It included live music and beautifully designed costumes. And of course enough chocolate to feed the United States Armed Forces!
Photo Gallery photos rotate aout every 5 seconds (Click any photo to stop the rotation!)
Bars: There are 12 bars at this resort, but our favorite was the Polo Lounge on the Hillside. It is beautifully decorated in a dark wood with an expansive bar, a piano, and seating both indoors and on the huge outdoor patio. It has the look and feel of Old Money. But our most-frequented bar was the swim-up pool bar, located at water sports. A special 'thank you' to Capprice at our nearby pool bar. If she did not see us at the bar, she wold also look for us at the pool to ask if we needed anything. One of the many bars - and another. Just wakj ir swim right up and enjoy your favorite drink. The bartenders were great about requests, and they offer their own speciality drinks. Since we are regular Sandals guests, so we knew ahead the drinks we love most - Mudslide, Hummingbird, BC, Chocolate Martini, Miami Vice, Jamaican Smile, Dirty Banana, B52, Bob Marley and even a Funky Monkey!
Since we like going to Sandals in February, we weer sometimes there for Super Bowl. Sandals knows how to put on a party!! Lots if wide screens, plenty of food and drinks - and everyone cheering for their team! As anyone who sasw the game knows it turned out to be amazing!
Super Bowl - Super Bowl 2 - Super Bowl 3
House keeping: Fantastic job!We never had to ask for anything, and I think that may be a first. There were always plenty of towels, shampoo, hairconditioner, soap, body wash, etc. etc. etc. The coffee pot was always clean, with plenty of cream continers plus a nice variety of tea bags, And we always enjot the towel art that was left on our bed tosurprise us every evening when we returned to our room.
Towel 1 - Towel 2 - Towel 3 - Towel 4
Nightlife Entertainment: We ;oved the almost-new addition to Sandals Ochi: A Speakeasy named the Rabbit Hole. We loved the pianio bar in the evenings, as well the the home-grown Jamaican talent which was excellent! Here's our video (YouTube) of the Rabbit Hole:
Photo Gallery of the Rabbit Hole Speakeasy Photos rotate every , n 9n j 5 seconds. Click on any photo to stop rotation
Red Lane Spa:
We always look forward to our Couples Massage. We combined our 30 minutes with another 30 minutes and upgraded to an hour long deep massage. Our room credit took care of the difference. While I wold not choose this "deep" massage (a little too deep for me) it was an excellent experience and we very much enjoyed our "couples massage.".
16 dining choices and 12 bars - and not enough time in our 9-night vacation. On our first full day we made our reservations through the concierge office. We asked for and received 2 nights at Kellys Dockside. From our past experience at both Sandals St. Lucian and Sandals Antigua, we knew one evening was not enough? The food was excellent and this time was no exception. Our first experience dining at Le Gourmand proved to be outstanding. Valentinos, The Reef and Neptune were all very good.
What we didn't like: The weakest restaurant was the Southern Table. We would pass on this one. Of course part of this may be because we are both southerners. We love living on the coast of South Carolina, and we have plenty of award-winning chefs and restaurants specializing in Southern dishes, especially seafood! I also enjoy cooking and eating Southern foods. In other words, we are spoiled by real southern cooking. The grits here tasted like Cream of Wheat, and I'll bet y'all pigs to polecats that they don't contain any heavy cream! Or proper amounts of chees for that matter...plus other uninspiring items that tried to pass as Southern food were meh.
We did not take advantage of the "breakfast in bed" offer which also comes with Diamond Level, although we heard from other guests that the food and service were excellent.
By the time we boarded the sunset cruise, we had already met some other Sandals guests and were happy to see them board with us. It was a fairlty long cruise - about 2.5 hours - but the time passed too quickly as we enjoyed ourselves. And since this is Sandals, we of course we found a lot of food and drinks throughout the cruise. The staff seemed to enjoy this cruise as much as we did, and everyone loved seeing the beautiful coastline with a beautiful sunset as we docked
Photo Gallery of the Sunset Cruise Photos rotate every 5 seconds. Click any photo to stop rotation.
Wally enjoyed the snorkeling each day except when it was too cloudy. Snorkeling trips were closer to the resort shore compared to our previous Ochi stay. T]hey used to go out further, including the sunken boat wreck, but now there is an additional fee of about $25. to go that far. Must be a cost-cutting move and we are sorry to see that happpen. (All inclusive includes snorkeling and should include the boat wreck.) Someone at Sandals must have come up with an idea to make some additional money. Thanks to our Captain, Albert (Fat Albert) as well as Wesley and Tashane - The snorkel boat - Watersports sign
Glass Bottom Boat:
Not much to see except for a few darting small fish. As we returned along the coastline, other resorts were pointed out to us. The kid on the boat said "There's Sandals Souci. It means 'wiithout care' because they don't care." Apparweently he thought this was funny because he snickered a lot. We didn't even smile! Shame on you, Sandals. We have vacationed at Sandals Sans Souci in the past, and it is a beautiful resort. Some day we woud like to return. We heard practically the same (obviously rehearsed) words on our previous Sandals Ochi vacation from other Sandals employees. Come on, Sandals. Don't knock your compitation. This sort of thing does not improve your Sandal's reputation.
We spoke a few times with the manager, Ramel Sobrino. He seemsd to be everywhere at once, and he obviously loves his job. Here we are, outside the Riviera front tower.
Sandals Ochi was a wonderful and relaxing vacation for us! We met so many delightful staff members and guests. The overall experience was terrific! We miss y'all already!
The rest of the 40+ more photos in a gallery
Suggestions To Sandals Ochi for improvement:
Even though we had "in room reservations", it still took 45 minutes to get our bags. That is a long time when you're anxious to get our of your winter clothes and into your shorts.
Riviera Beachfront Tower. It is badly in need of updates since it was badly showing its age! I said the same thing when we were there in 2013 but the only improvement since then is extra lighting in the bathroom. While I think the location offers the best view of the resort, it is far from the tech internet world we're living in today! If nothing else, please replace those ancient lamps by the beds and put in some outlets with USB ports as you find today (even cheap) hotels and motels. The lamp shades are grayed and just about worn out.I would NOT have one in my house - they look like something from the Adams Family. And the insides of the shades were dark with ugly splotches. In 2013 we had some internet equipment, but in 2017 we have more. Each night we needed to plug in and charge: 2 Apple Watches, 2 laptops, camera batteries and changers, plus 2 iPhones. These rooms are not equipped as they shoulf be, and in these days of fast-changing technicals advancements, this should have been addressed long ago.
Red Lane? Spa - If Sandals really wants to own the title of a 5-star resort, they should neverf allow their spa people to come around bothering guests at the pool in order to pimp their products. People are at the pool to swim, drink, read, talk to others or simply take a nap. This behavior does NOT happen in a truly all-inclusive resort Additionally, they need to cut back om the sales presentations after the treatments!
We very mch missed the Cafe de Paris which we love at other Sandals Resorts. We especially missed it when we discovered it was not real ice cream. It was "soft serve" (like Dairy Queen.)
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